CNNers Baffled at Guest Pointing Out Comey's Temp Replacement Is Dem

On Tuesday's CNN Tonight, during a discussion of President Donald Trump firing FBI director James Comey, three CNN regular CNN panel members were befuddled and reacted with confusion after right-leaning historian Doug Wead pointed out that Comey's temporary replacement -- assistant director Andrew McCabe -- is himself a Democrat and therefore not someone who is likely to impede any investigation into the Trump administration.

Additionally, Wead recalled that, during President Bill Clinton's 1996 reelection campaign, the government of China donated millions to Democrats to boost Clinton's reelection chances. The media at the time notably did not give nearly the attention to the scandal affecting Democrats as they currently are shining on Trump.

At about 11:46 p.m., when Wead had his turn to speak, he argued that FBI activities would not be hindered by Comey's removal:

The Jim Comey firing, it's portrayed like the FBI are 12 men operating out of a garage and so he's fired and that ends the investigation. And what hasn't been said and what isn't discussed is his successor -- Andrew McCabe -- is a Democrat who investigated Hillary Clinton, found her innocent, and his wife, Jill McCabe, received several hundred thousand dollars when she ran for office in Virginia from the Clinton machine -- $500,000 of it from Terry McAuliffe. No one talks about that. He's the acting director of the FBI --

Not getting the point, host Don Lemon injected: "What does that have to do with this investigation?" 

Wead explained:

It has to do with the fact that, all day long, people have been saying, "He fired Comey, therefore he was trying to obstruct justice by keeping the investigation into the Russian collusion." Well, it didn't stop the investigation at all. It didn't even cause a road bump.

The other panel members still seemed confused as CNN presidential historian Douglas Brinkley shook his head and host Lemon reiterated: "With all due respect, I still don't understand what one has to do with the other."

The two went back and forth as Wead tried to explain:

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WEAD: Well, you just mentioned the -- your guest just before mentioned the firing of Comey as part of the obstruction of justice because -- just because you get rid of Comey, you don't get rid of the FBI investigation. The current acting director --

LEMON: But I'm still trying to understand what that has to do 

WEAD: -- of the FBI is a Democrat.

LEMON: -- with his -- the current FBI guy being a Democrat and investigating Hillary Clinton. I don't see a clear line here.

WEAD: Because the President does not improve his chances in the investigation by exchanging Comey for Andrew McCabe. There is no improvement for Donald Trump.

After Lemon and Wead informed viewers that a permanent replacement must still be named -- who may or may not be McCabe -- the CNN host went to CNN global affairs analyst Tony Blinken for his response. Blinken -- a former Obama administration official -- still did not seem to get the point as he perceived Wead's analysis as an attack on McCabe. Blinken:

Look, I've served with Andrew McCabe. He is a consummate professional, so, you know, it's always fun to try to tear down people in order to distract from what's really going on, but you're barking up the wrong tree if you're trying to tear down McCabe.

As the two went back and forth, Blinken finally admitted that McCabe being in charge of the FBI would likely not mean the bureau would be more friendly to President Trump:

WEAD: I'm not tearing him down. I'm just stating the fact he's a Democrat, so it's not improving the President's odds by getting rid of Comey.

BLINKEN: No, what he is is a professional, and that may not be improving the President's odds either.

A bit later, Wead also reminded viewers of China's attempt to influence the 1996 presidential election in favor of Democrats as he injected:

We've had worse than this with the Chinese under the Clintons where millions of dollars were donated to the Clintons and Chinese officials in the Oval Office, and the money had to be refunded. Your viewers can Google it and read all about it.

After Lemon wondered if modern technology means Russia's actions were more serious, Wead added:

Well, technology has changed maybe so, but money that came in to the Clintons, that had to be refunded, that came both to the DNC and came to the President's legal trust fund. That had to be refunded. There were 66 criminal counts brought against the people that made the donations. That was a serious crisis, and some of the donors were from the People's Republic of China. They scattered when the FBI tried to prosecute them.

In spite of all the time CNN has already devoted to the FBI and Russia, Lemon showed little interest in the China case as he invited Blinken to respond but also tried to change the subject:

Let's get this back on track. I want to bring Tony Blinken back into this. Tony, I don't know if you want to respond to any of that, but, in my questioning, you can respond however you want, but please answer: What is a denial from the White House worth these days?

Blinken did not respond to China's history of trying to influence the Democratic party as the issue was dropped.

Below is a transcript of relevant portions of the Tuesday, May 16, CNN Tonight:

11:46 p.m. ET
DOUG WEAD, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: I see it totally differently. I mean, the Jim Comey firing, it's portrayed like the FBI are 12 men operating out of a garage and so he's fired and that ends the investigation. And what hasn't been said and what isn't discussed is his successor -- Andrew McCabe -- is a Democrat who investigated Hillary Clinton, found her innocent, and his wife, Jill McCabe, received several hundred thousand dollars when she ran for office in Virginia from the Clinton machine -- $500,000 of it from Terry McAuliffe. No one talks about that. He's the acting director of the FBI --

DON LEMON: What does that have to do with this investigation?

WEAD: It has to do with the fact that, all day long, people have been saying, "He fired Comey, therefore he was trying to obstruct justice by keeping the investigation into the Russian collusion." Well, it didn't stop the investigation at all. It didn't even cause a road bump.

LEMON: With all due respect, I still don't understand what one has to do with the other.

[Douglas Brinkley looks confused and shakes his head.]

WEAD: Well, you just mentioned the -- your guest just before mentioned the firing of Comey as part of the obstruction of justice because -- just because you get rid of Comey, you don't get rid of the FBI investigation. The current acting director --

LEMON: But I'm still trying to understand what that has to do 

WEAD: -- of the FBI is a Democrat.

LEMON: -- with his -- the current FBI guy being a Democrat and investigating Hillary Clinton. I don't see a clear line here.

WEAD: Because the President does not improve his chances in the investigation by exchanging Comey for Andrew McCabe. There is no improvement for Donald Trump.

LEMON: Andrew McCabe is the acting director, correct?

WEAD: That's correct, yeah.

LEMON: Okay. So the -- and he has to appoint another -- he's going to appoint a permanent director.

WEAD: Maybe, but they're considering McCabe, too.

LEMON: Does anyone on this panel want to respond to that?

TONY BLINKEN, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Look, I've served with Andrew McCabe. He is a consummate professional, so, you know, it's always fun to try to tear down people in order to distract from what's really going on, but you're barking up the wrong tree if you're trying to tear down McCabe.

WEAD: I'm not tearing him down. I'm just stating the fact he's a Democrat, so it's not improving the President's odds by getting rid of Comey.

BLINKEN: No, what he is is a professional, and that may not be improving the President's odds either.

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Well, I guess the point that maybe you were trying to make -- it's a little disjointed -- but, look, the FBI isn't about one person, and they're going to continue with this investigation. Question is, is Donald Trump in a position to choose a new FBI director?

(...)

WEAD: We've had worse than this with the Chinese under the Clintons where millions of dollars were donated to the Clintons and Chinese officials in the Oval Office, and the money had to be refunded. Your viewers can Google it and read all about it.

LEMON: You don't think that this is an interference of a different kind, especially when it has to deal with cyber and about putting out propaganda through means which you didn't once have to do? You can spread it faster and quicker and a larger extent than at any point in history, Doug Wead?

WEAD: Well, technology has changed maybe so, but money that came in to the Clintons, that had to be refunded, that came both to the DNC and came to the President's legal trust fund. That had to be refunded. There were 66 criminal counts brought against the people that made the donations. That was a serious crisis, and some of the donors were from the People's Republic of China. They scattered when the FBI tried to prosecute them.

LEMON: Let's get this back on track. I want to bring Tony Blinken back into this. Tony, I don't know if you want to respond to any of that, but, in my questioning, you can respond however you want, but please answer: What is a denial from the White House worth these days?

CyberAlerts 2016 Presidential China Russia CNN CNN Tonight Video FBI James Comey Don Lemon Douglas Brinkley Donald Trump Bill Clinton